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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 05/27/2010

Gwyneth Paltrow: She's not just like us!

By Liz Kelly

Gwyneth's 'proper' tub. (Courtesy

It's hard for me to get through an entire quarter without somehow snarking on the insouciant Gwyneth Paltrow. And the thing of it is I don't utterly dislike the woman, no matter how many times I poke fun at her for her faux continentalism or her desire to be the hipster Martha Stewart. The truth of it is, she's not a half-bad actress and sometimes her GOOP-y domestic suggestions actually turn out to be helpful.

And then there are days like today when Gwynnie sends out one of her weekly GOOP newsletters that just completely squelches any relatability we -- mere mortals -- may have possibly felt for her. Which is probably still better than the weeks when she commits a major boner and sends out questionable medical advice. Anyhoo...

This week, Gwynnie allowed a Nashville interior designer to explain how -- without mentioning the hundreds of thousands of dollars likely involved in the project (despite Gwynnie's statement that all was done on "a very limited independent film–scale budget") -- she in 10 days transformed an empty loft into a home away from home for Gwyn and the kids.

Why was the apartment, as-is, unsuitable for Gwynnie?

The kitchen was builder grade (in other words, not so nice) and the bathrooms were very ordinary.

By builder grade, designer Annette Joseph means that it wasn't up to Gwynnie's standards as a gourmand and lacked -- the horror! -- a gas stove. As for those bathrooms, apparently the dumpkopf who originally kitted out the space didn't include a "proper bathtub," required by you-know-who so she can have a proper bath time with proper offspring Apple and Moses.

So wait -- the entire apartment was gutted, renovated and decorated in 10 days? How is that even posible on a "very limited independent film–scale budget"?

We had a strict timeline... worked 16-18 hour shifts with an amazing crew of craftsmen ... One trick was that we never let the 18-hour crew leave to eat lunch, we brought lunch and all ate together to keep the momentum going.

That's right. Lock them in the apartment. That'll light a fire under a tradesman's bum.

So, there you have it. Ten days after Gwynnie "motored through about 200 choices [for the interior design] in an hour," she had a cozy new Nashville pad to call home. At least for a little while.

Now don't you feel lazy about not getting around to that accent wall project yet?

And no, not once are any preferences or concessions for Mr. Paltrow, aka Chris Martin, mentioned.

By Liz Kelly  | May 27, 2010; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Insouciance  | Tags:  Gwyneth Paltrow  
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I'm actually with Gwynnie re the gas range, so no snark there. OTOH, those 16-18 hour shifts for the tradesmen sound like fatigue-caused industrial accidents just waiting to happen (did the insouciant one mention how many digits were lost in the process?).

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | May 27, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

re Mr. Martin, lotta guys just aren't into interior design. The first (and for a time the only) piece of furniture in my s-i-l's basement fam rm was a big screen tv. Most of us guys don't see anything wrong with that.

Posted by: reddragon1 | May 27, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I bet the only people happier about the 18-hour days than the workers were the neighbors.

And that is some seriously fug faux marble tiling.

Reddragon, scrolling through the photos in the article, there's not a TV to be seen, large-screen or otherwise. I think Liz is right that Mr. Paltrow was not consulted on this little project...

Posted by: northgs | May 27, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

You almost lost me at "very limited independent film–scale budget." Yet still I had to read the GOOP newsletter for myself (stupid man that I am).

First of all, can't she just stay at the local Hyatt while she's filming?

Next, those two bedroom lights were "a steal" at $250? Home Depot, babe. Fifty bucks. And why do Apple and Moses have to share a room and sleep in bunk beds? Cheap cow.

Perhaps the lack of Chris Martin references is because the place didn't have enough square footage for a temporary secret room/hideout.

Last, I like the "Click here to see how you can help our friends in Nashville recover from the recent flood." -- One suggestion: Bag the new digs and donate to the cause that "very limited independent film–scale budget."

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | May 27, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Man, I hope the Tennessee Wage and Labor folks see this article. 16-18 hour days mean beaucoup overtime, IF the law is followed.

Of course, independent film budget can mean many things.

Posted by: epjd | May 27, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

omg northgs, you are right. un-effing-beilievable! how barbaric.

Posted by: reddragon1 | May 27, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

So that's the secret! Hundreds of thousands of dollars and possibly illegal labor practices! And to think I've been doing it the hard way all these years.

Posted by: DCCubefarm | May 27, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Every.single.mention of Gwyneth is accompanied by the word "insouciant." New vocab words, please.

Posted by: merryunbirthday | May 27, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

merryunbirthday, I'd agree with you, except that I seem to recall Gwyneth describing herself using that term, so every invocation of it is an automatic snark at her :-)

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | May 27, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

northgs and reddragon1 - I'm not sure I want to admit to studying the pictures this much, but if you look at the picture of the kid's play table, there IS a cable-TV remote sitting on it! So it might not have been in the pictures, but I'm guessing there is at least one TV somewhere! And on another note...the KIDS needed new toys from Anthropologie???

Posted by: EJC13 | May 27, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I have always liked Gwynnie, but have to admit I find her use of the totally British terms "motor through" and "proper" to be highly amusing. At least she does a better British accent than Madonna.

Posted by: Californian11 | May 27, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"not once are any preferences or concessions for Mr. Paltrow, aka Chris Martin, mentioned."

He gets a hose on the back porch.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | May 27, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Alright. GOOP glommed on and sucked me in. Not even Lost did that, and that's how I came to Lizard Island!

The woman who did her apartment is not a decorator, she's a photostylist, per her website. So, yeah.... Not only is GP NOT like the rest of us, she doesn't hire decorators. She got herself a decorina!

And the tile on the bathroom pic? At first glance, I thought they were men walking, some right-side-up, some upsde-down.

Posted by: rachelt2 | May 27, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

i'm not very familiar with the biz - did this apartment come out of the movie's budget?

Posted by: njrunner1 | May 27, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Generally dislike Gwenyth and her uppityness, but I DO LOVE that tub. Wish I had a small indy film budget!

Posted by: gamecock1 | May 27, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

rachel, don't say "bathroom" in the next sentence after "decorinal." I might have to go back and look at the pictures to see exactly what kind of fixtures are in said bathroom. Maybe that's where the TV is too.

Posted by: reddragon1 | May 27, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I think that Gwynnie's lack of consultation to her husband makes her a lot more like "us" (i.e. most wives) than Liz is giving credit.

Posted by: klaw009x | May 27, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Oops! Sorry reddragon! Should have called it the Loo or WC. Only those have proper tubs. (j/k, actually, on second thought, I think those terms only apply to powder rooms, not full baths. The insouciant one would have me gooped and feathered!)

Posted by: rachelt2 | May 27, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"and lacked -- the horror! -- a gas stove"

Sorry... I'm a mere mortal and there's NWIH I'd ever buy a place that had an electric range (oven is fine, though gas is preferred there as well). Two words: temperature control. And when you turn it off, it's off... Now if Gwenyth had insisted on an induction cooktop (or an all Gagganau kitchen), you might have a case... though I would still applaud her taste.

Sure, she may not be as "down-to-earth" as she sets herself out to be. But I don't know many people with seven(+) figure incomes who are... ok, I don't really know many people in that stratosphere to begin with, but it seems to me that people get "accustomed to a certain lifestyle" pretty easily...

Posted by: wdrudman | May 27, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

You guys crack me up. Stay goopy!

Posted by: hodie2 | May 27, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Count me in as a member of Team Gas Stove.

EJC13, nice eagle-eye on the TV remote.

All this talk about finding a "proper tub." Do people not bathe in Nashville? You'd think Lady Goop was seeking a Fabergé egg in a coalmine.

rachelt2, I couldn't figure out that bathroom tile either (glad it wasn't just me). It reminded me of the scene in "The Birdcage" when they're all looking at the china pattern and Dianne Wiest says, "it looks like Greek men playing leapfrog."

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | May 27, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Normally I'm all happy to snark on that which brought us GOOP, but I'm with Nosy and TD, gas stoves all the way. I'm currently tethered to an electric range and ain't no fun.

Posted by: jelo97 | May 27, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could have a gas oven. My place isn't piped for gas, though. Siiiiigh. I wonder if she got the whole building piped for it.

And I do have to defend her on the builder grade kitchen. I currently have that setup & it's complete crap. Tiny cabinets & poorly organized. And ugly. Bleah.

Posted by: blahblah6b | May 27, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood, but just adding up the prices that were listed (which was far from everything and didn't include little things like paying overtime for the labor or the decorator's fee, etc.) I got a total of $26,115 (I made some rough guesses about the size of the bathroom to get a cost on the tile) for a place they're only going to live in for a few months! I would really love for Gwynnie to understand that $26K is what some people live on for a year, let alone whatever the actual grand total was! Between my husband & I, we make considerably more than $26K, but I bet the grand total still eclipses our (college-educated, white collar) annual gross. "Very limited. . . budget" indeed.

Posted by: talleyl | May 27, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

The Icon? She makes it sound like some humble loft. This is a luxury condo she redid!

Posted by: mdreader01 | May 27, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

@blahblah6b-Yeah, but you, unlike her Gwynnie-ness, are making do, not dropping untold $1000s to fix up a house you're not even staying in. You may get around to it, you may even be actively working toward it right now, but you understand that it costs real money. Who knows, tho, they may sell the whole thing in 6 months for more than they paid. Seems unlikely in this fragile market, but someone may find living in Gwynnie's cast-off house worth spending higher than the going rate. Anyway, sorry if-scratch that-sorry THAT I'm ranting. I'll get off my soap box now.

Posted by: talleyl | May 27, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

jelo, I had to endure 18 months with an electric range as a newlywed, and for someone who'd learned to cook on my parents' gas range, the electric one was pure misery. From then on, an electric range has been a deal-breaker for us! (And we have a friend who moved to a region without natural gas, who bought a propane range because she couldn't stand electric either!).

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | May 27, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't really follow Gwyneth - but somehow in the back I my mind I thought she purported to be "green". Gutting a perfectly serviceable property to make it perfect for her for short term use is not green and is actually pretty offensive. Jeez - just get over yourself.

Posted by: Lurker60 | May 27, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

td - you are soooo right. How do I feel about Her Goopineess and her very unGreen living choices (you're exactly right Lurker60)? "Betrayed...bewildered...." a la Nathan Lane!

Posted by: rachelt2 | May 27, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse


Coming from a "champagne taste on a beer budget" background, I would choose a different lyric from the same source: "If you got it, flaunt it!"

Posted by: wdrudman | May 27, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Paltrow isn't like us at all, although I fifth the opinion about gas stoves and tubs for kids (they need a good soak after playground fun). Per a longer glance at GOOP, I was struck by how she is more like Oprah- with her team of experts on various topics, her name dropping and list of stores that may include stores we shop at (Pottery Barn Outlet, Target) and stores we don't (Restoration Hardware, Dwell, Design within Reach). All that and a reminder for you to help out (like she implies she is doing)with the local efforts (flood victims in TN).

Posted by: plamar1031 | May 27, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Gwynnie the Poo needs to be flushed down her designer toilet.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | May 27, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, guys, I'm a gas stove gal, too. I've got a six burner wolf commercial dealie and wouldn't part with it. But I guess my "the horror" was re: the fact that she needed the kitchen torn up and the electric replaced with gas in an apartment she occupied for, at most, two or three months.

Posted by: Liz Kelly | May 27, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

What killed me about this is

a) it was temporary housing while she's filming a movie, so the cost may have possibly gone to the studio (hence the "independent film budget" mention) - way to boost ticket prices, lady.


b) She included that quick little link to send donations to Nashville flood survivors.

How 'bout you just write a big old check to the survivors and stay in a damn hotel?

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | May 27, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

And a quick Google shows me I'm right. They are rumoring $100K for the space.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | May 27, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Yucky marble. Nice tub (I want one just like it). But 16-18 hour days for the workmen? Are there unions in Nashville?

I sixth the gas stove: After cooking with gas all my life, I was once stuck with an electric stove in an otherwise satisfactory apartment, and after the first month I was ready to rip it out with my bare hands. (At least it glowed. A friend of mine had one of those glass cooktops that looks the same whether it's on or not. Can you spell "melted Tupperware"?)

Posted by: PLozar | May 27, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

My mom said "what a boner" (in the same sense that you did in this article) years ago when she was substituting teaching for a high school class of mine. I never lived it down, and my mom had to be schooled in the 'contemporary' use of the word.

Was I wrong to be horrified that mom uttered this phrase? I'm wondering if I owe her an apology, now that I see it used by my celebritology peeps...

Posted by: heidimuller1 | May 28, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else think that the art was a bit creepy?

Posted by: LiliKang | May 28, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Yes - the art was waaaaay creepy. Especially the hummingbirds on attack - and the title equated it to Enron?

And how about the photostylist/decorina's smug take on how everyone should have art in their home, and can borrow fine art form galleries if your an important so-and-so...but the rest of unwashed masses can just try to cobble together whatever art-esque pictures we can find. Ugh.

To offset my vitriol, I will admit that I have a gas stove. And love it. There - I've done my snark penance.

Posted by: rachelt2 | May 28, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Yes - the art was waaaaay creepy. Especially the hummingbirds on attack - and the title equated it to Enron?

And how about the photostylist/decorina's smug take on how everyone should have art in their home, and can borrow fine art form galleries if your an important so-and-so...but the rest of unwashed masses can just try to cobble together whatever art-esque pictures we can find. Ugh.

To offset my vitriol, I will admit that I have a gas stove. And love it. There - I've done my snark penance.

Posted by: rachelt2 | May 28, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a GP lover or anything, but that article was written by the designer (or decorator or photo stylist, whatever that is). So the "proper" tub and "builder grade" might have been her words. And it was her idea to work the laborers like that. I bet Gwynnie didn't even know what their plan was. I'm assuming there was only a shower stall and she needed an actual bathtub to bathe her kids? Not that unreasonable.

Posted by: PostReader4 | May 28, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I think if there wasn't a tub at all, the author would have said that rather than say it lacked a "proper" tub. My bet would be that the apartment had a standard tub with a shower curtain/doors and shower head just like most everyone. What it lacked was a super-nice claw foot tub with a separate shower area.

I like a gas stove too, though all the houses I have owned have been electric. My problem is that she was only going to be there for a few months. For a few months, I could put up with just about anything. That she couldn't put up with an electric range & a nice tub and dropped tens of thousands to fix it says volumes.

Posted by: DCCubefarm | May 28, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

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